President Russell M. Nelson announced two significant organizational changes Saturday night designed to help everyday Latter-day Saints in congregations throughout the world minister more like Jesus Christ.
“Tonight we announce a significant restructuring of our Melchizedek Priesthood quorums to accomplish the work of the Lord more effectively,” President Nelson said during the general priesthood session in the Conference Center on Temple Square. “In each ward, the high priests and the elders will now be combined into one elders quorum . . . [and] the composition of [the stake high priests] quorum will be based on current priesthood callings.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ priesthood is divided into two levels or orders — the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. Elder and high priest are two of the ordained priesthood offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood.
President Nelson, who became the Church’s 17th president on January 14, 2018, said the merge of the two priesthood groups into one quorum has been worked on, reviewed, and refined for many months. The key reason for the change, he said, is the need for a more effective ministry.
“We have felt a pressing need to improve the way we care for our members,” he said. “To do that better, we need to strengthen our priesthood quorums to give greater direction to the ministering of love and support that the Lord intends for His Saints. These adjustments are inspired of the Lord. As we implement them, we will be even more effective than we have been previously.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke after President Nelson, describing how the changes would affect wards.
“The elders quorum includes all elders and prospective elders in the ward as well as high priests who are not currently serving in the bishopric, in the stake presidency, on the high council, or as functioning patriarchs. The stake presidency will release current high priests group leaderships and elders quorum presidencies and will call a new elders quorum president and counselors in each ward. The new elders quorum presidency may include elders and high priests, of varying ages and experience, serving together in one quorum presidency. An elder or a high priest may serve as the quorum president or as a counselor in the presidency.”